Total food waste in the UK fell by 480,000 tonnes between 2015 and 2018 – a 7% reduction per person – according to new data from the government’s waste advisory body.
The report from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) reveals that households and businesses had a greater rate of progress in tackling food waste from 2015 to 2018 than over the preceding five years.
However, it shows that UK households still waste 4.5 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten, worth £14 billion every year (£700 for an average family with children). The volume of food still wasted equates to 10 billion meals.
A reduction of 4% in the supply chain also shows good overall progress from businesses, but Wrap said many more businesses need to step up their action on food waste to help halve global food waste by 2030.
According to Wrap, the decrease in household food waste can be attributed to a range of factors including heightened public awareness through its Love Food Hate Waste campaign, clearer labelling on food packaging and more local authorities offering residents separate food waste collections.
“We are in a new decade and have just ten years if we are to honour our international commitment to halve food waste,” said Marcus Gover, Wrap CEO. “This really matters because it is untenable that we carry on wasting food on such a monumental scale when we are seeing the visible effects of climate change every day, and when nearly a billion people go hungry every day.
“This great news announced today means we are starting to wake up to the reality of food waste, but we are too often turning a blind eye to what is happening in our homes. We are all thinking about what we can do for the environment and this is one of the most simple and powerful ways we can play our part. By wasting less food, we are helping to tackle the biggest challenges this century – feeding the world whilst protecting our planet.”
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